A VOLUNTEER who was left with a brain injury after being attacked in her own home is in the running for a national award for her incredible achievements.
Barbara Hilton, from Bennington, is one of only three people from across the UK to be named as a finalist in the Volunteer of the Year category in the annual awards run by Headway – the brain injury association.
Headway volunteer Mrs Hilton sustained a brain injury nine years ago and also survived a cancer scare just two years ago.
After being attacked, Mrs Hilton’s head and neck were both damaged, but the doctors just concentrated on her neck.
She tried returning to work afterwards, but noticed something wasn’t right with her head.
Mrs Hilton was ‘gobsmacked’ to hear the news and said: “I still can’t believe I’m a finalist. It’s even more special knowing that my daughter nominated me. I can’t wait for the big day. Headway means a lot to me and my family.
“After the attack I was unable to remember conversations or passwords to my computer that I had for years, and I was struggling to interact with those around me.
“I was experiencing constant headaches. it was like I had a lump on my head, but it was on the inside. When I went to my GP, I was told it was just stress.”
A scan eventually revealed Mrs Hilton was suffering from a subdural haematoma – a swelling of blood that compresses and damages the brain around it. One night, the swelling suddenly disappeared.
She added: “It was as though a great big pulse was going off in my head and then pressure just went.
“The following morning I could hardly walk, my left side was like a lump of wood and I was walking like a drunk. It was after this that my GP accepted that I wasn’t trying to avoid going to work and arranged for a consultant appointment and a CT scan.
“It was several months later that I was told that it was very likely that I’d been suffering from a subdural haematoma.”
Mrs Hilton was nominated for the award by her daughter Lisa Bush who said: “I’m over the moon for Mum. She’s an inspiration to the entire family and everyone at Headway.”
Mrs Hilton retired from her job, which ironically involved working in a social services day centre for people with brain injuries.
She then contacted Headway Lincolnshire which helped her understand her brain injury and a couple of years ago wanted to give something back.
This is when Mrs Hilton started a satellite group of the branch, called The Boston Social Group which is for everyone in or around Boston affected by brain injury.
The group meets once a month in the Five Bells.
The Volunteer and Campaigner of the Year awards will be presented at a glittering ceremony at The Dorchester Hotel in London on December 7, along with accolades for the Achiever and Carer of the Year, and the Stephen McAleese Outstanding Contribution to Headway Award.